Visiting Spain in winter is a great idea! Fewer crowds, warm winter sunshine, and lower prices are all major draws making Spain a brilliant country for a sunny winter holiday.
Whilst many people flock to Spain in the warmer months hitting the popular beach resorts, there are many things to do in Spain in winter making it a great all-year-round destination.
You could enjoy some winter sunshine in Tenerife, explore museums in Barcelona without the queues, take a Flamenco lesson in Madrid or even go skiing in the morning followed by the beach in the afternoon at Costa Tropical!
The more comfortable temperatures, fewer crowds and lower prices make Spain a great place for a winter city break. Barcelona or Madrid in winter still has so much to offer without the long queues, humid weather and sky-high summer price tags.
So with that in mind, I’ve asked some of my writing colleagues to tell us about their Spain travel tips and their favourite things to do in Spain in the winter months…
What you can expect from this article...
- 1 Reasons to visit Spain in Winter
- 2 What is the weather like in Spain in winter?
- 3 Top things to do in Spain in Winter
- 4 How to celebrate Christmas in Spain
- 5 How to celebrate New Year in Spain
- 6 Celebrating Carnival in Spain in February
- 7 Other events in Spain in winter
- 8 Get Planning your trip to Spain in winter
Reasons to visit Spain in Winter
- Parts of Spain (the islands) are not far from Africa and so as you can imagine, receive year-round sunshine and warm temperatures
- If you head to the mountains on the mainland, you will find ski resorts, much cheaper than the popular resorts in the likes of France and Switzerland.
- There are plenty of things to do in the winter even if the weather is bad with a huge selection of castles, cathedrals, museums and art galleries to explore.
- Many of Spains popular tourist attractions get very busy so visiting in the Winter is a great way to dodge the queues.
What is the weather like in Spain in winter?
The climate varies hugely across Spain during the winter months.
The weather in the mountainous regions of Spain can get cold and you can even do snow sports such as skiing or snowboarding in the winter in Spain.
In contrast, the South Coast of Spain and the islands off the coast experience year-round warm weather with an average temperature varying between 15-23 degrees throughout the winter months in Tenerife. With fewer crowds, off-season may be the best time to visit the South of Spain.
Barcelona sees average temperatures of 10-18 degrees and Madrid; 5-12 degrees. This makes the weather very comfortable even in the coldest months.
Top things to do in Spain in Winter
Winter Sun activities in Spain
Surfing in Fuerteventura
Suggested by Greta from Greta’s Travels
If you’re looking for the best things to do in Spain in winter, you should add surfing in the Canary Islands to your list. It’s not a typical winter activity, which is what makes it so awesome.
Located just 100km away from the African coast, the Canary Islands are blessed with sunshine and warm temperatures all year round. They are the perfect place for a warm winter getaway if you want to escape the European cold weather.
The islands have prime wind and wave conditions, which make it a popular destination for water sports lovers. Especially in winter, the waves are longer and smoother, making it the perfect destination for anyone looking to surf in Spain in winter, especially beginners.
The best island to do so is Fuerteventura, with Corralejo in the north being the main surf town. Even if you’re not a big surfer, there are tons of cool things to do in a Corralejo, including quad biking on the sand dunes, snorkelling to Lobos island, enjoying the Spanish food and drink and more.
If you’re looking for a slightly unconventional winter activity I would definitely add surfing in the Canary Islands to your winter in Spain bucket list.
Visit the beaches of Gran Canaria
Suggest by Alex from Swedish Nomad.
Gran Canaria is one of the few places within the European Zone where you can get sun and warm temperatures all year round. While all of the Canary Islands have more comfortable degrees in the wintertime, your best bet for a beach vacation is to travel to Gran Canaria and the southern parts of the island.
Going to the beaches here is definitely one of the best things to do in Spain during winter. The best beaches are Anfi Beach and Playa de Amadores, which are easily accessible by bus or car from most tourist towns on the island.
You can travel to Gran Canaria from various destinations in Europe, and the majority of airports in Spain. Many Spaniards will go here as well on weekend trips or winter holiday to escape the cold temperatures of the mainland.
The temperatures on Gran Canaria will range from 22-30 degrees in the southern parts in towns like Puerto Rico, Arguineguin, Maspalomas, and Mogan.
Road trip through Andalusian villages
Suggested by Gábor of Surfing The Planet.
Andalusia, the Southern part of Spain, has a mild climate even winter, and since in summer temperatures can be unbearably high, visiting this area in winter can be highly gratifying. Apart from world-famous cities such as Granada, Seville or Cordoba, there are many beautiful Andalusian villages that worth your attention.
One of the greatest road trips you can do in winter in Spain is to follow the route around villages and small towns of the Caminos de Pasión (Roads of Passion). This is a religiously-motivated itinerary (dedicated to the events before and during the Easter week) that goes through ten small towns and villages in the interior of the Andalusian territory.
The most memorable stops are Alcalá la Real in Jaén Province with one of the most impressive hilltop castles of the region, Priego de Córdoba with its white houses and cobbled streets full of flowers and Carmona, a beautiful historic town in the Province of Seville.
Games of Thrones fans can’t miss out on Osuna where one of the most spectacular scenes of the series was filmed in the bullfight-arena. The trip is also a gastronomic adventure, for instance, the most famous olive-oil producing regions of Spain are found in this area.
Play golf on the Costa Del Sol
Suggested by Joanna from The World In My Pocket
Spain is known as a prime destination for playing golf all year round. With plenty of beautiful and challenging courses, there is no better place to go for a golfing holiday than in Andalucia, in the South of Spain.
Winter is a great time to play golf on Costa del Sol because of the mild temperatures and the plentiful sunny days. In summer, with temperatures reaching over 40 degrees, it is very hard to play golf, even if you are renting a buggy.
Winter, however, is a different story. Whilst it doesn’t rain very often on the South Coast of Spain, the winter days are still sunny and warm, with temperatures in their 20s degrees Celsius. In winter, the golf courses are walkable.
Another advantage of playing golf in winter in Spain is not only that you will benefit from warm weather, but the prices of accommodation will be cheaper as well. Winter is not the season for beach holidays, which means that at most hotels along the coast, you will pay peanuts for luxurious rooms.
Enjoy a water park in Tenerife
Suggested by Michelle from Greedy Gourmet
Spending winter in Spain is a blast. Especially, if you book a flight to the Canary Islands and go to Siam Park. The latter is a fabulous destination to visit in the winter months because of the warm temperatures all year round. While the rest of Europe is snowy, freezing and cold, Siam Park in Tenerife is going to be warm, pleasant and sunny – a perfect winter vacation!
Siam Park is a water park located in Tenerife, which attracts over 1.2 million visitors per year. It is reputed as one of the top water parks in all of Europe because of its unique Thai theme.
It contains all types of rides – family rides, thrill rides, gentle rides, and more. For example, the Volcano, Wave Palace, Naga Racer, Mai Thai River (the world’s longest lazy river) and the Mekong Rapids. What’s more, you’re surrounded by stunning scenery and Thai-inspired buildings. I loved it so much, I’ve been there twice!
Things to do in Spain specifically in Wintertime
Go skiing or snowboarding
Suggested by Inma from A World To Travel
Spain is just perfect at any time of the year. But one of the best things to do in Spain in winter, especially for ski and snowboard lovers, is to visit one of the ski resorts that are distributed throughout the Iberian Peninsula.
My personal favourite for a long time, because of its proximity to Galicia – my base – was San Isidro, in Picos de Europa, which is between the autonomous communities of Asturias and Leon. It doesn’t have too many ski kilometres but it is worth a visit.
Now, if the sun is important to you, take a look at the Sierra Nevada in Andalusia – one of the best ski resorts in Europe. If you want several stations with many ski kilometres; Then head to the Pyrenees.
In the centre of Spain, there are also some ski slopes, but they are usually quite crowded due to their proximity to Madrid.
Hike the Camino de Invierno
Suggested by Alya and Campbell from Stingy Nomads.
Hiking might not seem like an obvious activity to do in winter but there is one particular route named the Camino de Invierno or the Winter Camino that you supposed to walk in winter months.
The Camino de Invierno is one of the pilgrimage routes of the Camino de Santiago, it starts in Ponferrada and finishes in Santiago de Compostela like any other Camino.
The route was established as an alternative route on the Camino Frances to escape the O Cebreiro pass that gets a lot of snow in winter. Soon the Camino de Invierno became quite popular nowadays many pilgrims walk it as a separate Camino.
The total distance of this route is 263 km, it takes about two weeks to complete it. Unlike on the other Camino routes where many places shut down for the winter season on the Winter Camino everything stays open; albergues (hostels for pilgrims), restaurants, information offices, etc.
A great thing about walking the Camino in winter is that there are not too many people like in summer months when thousands of pilgrims arrive in Santiago every day. It means you can easily get a spot for the Pilgrim’s Mass in the cathedral, go to the Pilgrim’s Office and get your Compostela (the Camino certificate) in just a few minutes instead of spending two hours waiting in the queue like in peak season.
Warm-up with Churros and chocolate – a Spanish winter breakfast treat
Suggested by Maire from Temples and Treehouses
Churros are deep-fried doughnut sticks, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They’re ideally served hot, sprinkled with sugar and dipped into pots of hot melted chocolate sauce.
There’s no bad time to eat this delicious snack, but traditionally they’re a winter breakfast treat. In fact, some Spanish locals think it’s a bit weird to eat churros outside of the wintertime. And it’s true that there’s nothing cosier and more delightful than tucking into a breakfast of piping hot churros and chocolate when it’s cold outside.
In Barcelona, there’s a traditional street in the Gothic quarter called Carrer de Petritxol, which is historically known for its chocolate and churros. There are a few lovely little cafes and restaurants along this street, many specialising in hot chocolate and pastries, but my favourite is Granja Dulcinea. It’s been serving up its famous thick hot chocolate and fluffy churros since the 1940s.
Go Stargazing during the long winter nights
Suggested by Sara from Travel Continuum
Spain is most often associated with long sunny summer holidays, so it’s easy to forget that summer isn’t the only season to visit and the Sun isn’t the only star in Spanish skies.
In fact, winter nights in Spain are especially ideal for experiencing the awesome, star-studded splendour of The universe and there’s nowhere better to do that than at the Calar Alto Observatory in Almería province.
The striking white domes of the Observatory have held the secrets of the cosmos within them for many years, but not anymore! Thanks to
a partnership between the Observatory and astrotourism specialists
Azimuth, you can now book an evening at one of the professional research
telescopes to view distant planets or galaxies with expert guidance.
It’s the only experience of its kind available in Europe.
If you don’t fancy the exhilarating and stunning drive up to Calar Alto
itself, there are plenty of other cosmic choices available, such as a
stargazing excursion in the Andalucian countryside, or a stay at a
Starlight Finca or hotel, which are properties accredited for their dark
skies and eco-friendly policies.
Either way, a winter evening in Spain under a canopy of stars is
Visit the Cider Houses in San Sebastian
Suggest by Amber from Food and drink destinations
San Sebastian is arguably one of the best food destinations in the world. Although searching for the best pintxos in San Sebastian is a year-round activity, there is one food-related activity that is best in the winter. Dining at a cider house is a must-do winter activity.
Cider production has been an integral part of Basque culture for centuries. Today, drinking cider is woven into the fabric of daily life in San Sebastian. Beginning in late January and lasting until May, cider houses open their doors to the public to experience first hand this most important Basque beverage.
Many cider houses are conveniently located a few miles outside San Sebastian and can be reached by public transportation or taxi.
Visitors to the cider houses will experience a multi-course feast unlike any other. Ranging from four to five courses, the feast typically begins with locally produced charcuterie. A tortilla of bacalao, or salted cod, follows. The centrepiece is a large, aged local beef, grilled to a perfect rare that melts in the mouth. Local cheeses, honey and nuts round off the feast.
Accompanying the delicious food is the cider. Lots of cider. Whenever guests want to take a cider break, they head to the barrel room to fill up. They hold their glass out to receive the tasty cider in a stream straight from the barrel.
With local music and singing filling the air, dining in a cider house outside of San Sebastian is a culinary experience not to be missed.
Go on a rooftop tour of Seville Cathedral
Suggested by Helen from Helen On Her Holidays
Seville is one of the hottest cities in Europe, with the temperature in July averaging 36.0 °C (97 °F). If you want to make the most of your trip to Seville then it really pays to visit in the winter. One of the best things to do in Seville in the wintertime is to experience Seville Cathedral up close on a rooftop tour.
In the boiling days of summer, climbing up to the scorching rooftop doesn’t sound too appealing, but in the mild and sunny Seville winter, it’s a brilliant activity. You meet an official guide outside one of the cathedral’s huge doors, then you’ll be taken through a tiny door in one of the stone columns and up a narrow spiral staircase to the roof. Once you’re up there, the guide tells you about the construction of the cathedral – it took so long to complete that architectural fashions had changed by the time they got to the other end.
Highlights of the tour for me were the amazing views over Seville and the neighbouring Real Alcazar gardens, and the part of the tour where you get to walk along a narrow walkway high above the nave – just amazing.
Indoor activities for when it’s raining on your holiday in Spain
Visit a food market
Suggested by Or or My Path In The World.
What could be a better way to escape the rain and the cold of winter in Madrid than visiting an indoor food market?
The most famous one has to be Mercado de San Miguel, a market that’s been operating for more than 100 years. Here you’ll find countless stalls serving anything from beer and tapas to coffee and desserts. This market is very popular and touristy so don’t be surprised to see it getting crowded during lunch hours.
A bigger indoor market that has a traditional market, as well as food stalls, is Mercado San Anton. With 3 different floors, it is much more pleasant to walk around than Mercado San Miguel.
Other markets that offer both food stalls and a traditional market are Mercado de San Idelfonso, Mercado de San Fernando, and Mercado Anton Martin. They are a lot less touristy, so if you’re looking for hidden gems in Madrid, they are a perfect place to escape the crowds and soak up the local atmosphere.
Visit the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia
Suggested by Sarah of Travel Breathe Repeat.
Madrid is a wonderful city to visit in winter because it hardly gets too cold and it’s a city with amazing indoor activities like tapas hopping and museums. I especially recommend a visit to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, one of my favourite museums in not just Madrid, but Europe.
Museo Reina Sofía is best known for being home to Picasso’s masterpiece Guernica. And it’s a must-visit for that alone. But there’s so much more to see as well. As a lover of 20th-century art, I wandered the halls with glee looking at rooms upon rooms of masterpieces. I especially love surrealist art and was wowed by their collection.
The building is also interesting and noteworthy, although it’s a bit easy to get lost. Don’t miss the courtyard with some fabulous sculptures in the middle on the ground floor.
Tickets are pretty reasonable at 10 EUR for adults. But the museum also offers free entry for young people, students, seniors, people with disabilities, and more. Everyone can get in free every day (except Tuesday when the museum is closed) between 7-9pm and on Sunday after 1:30 pm.
Visit the works of Gaudi
Suggested by Constance from The Adventures of Panda Bear
When visiting Barcelona in the winter months, seeing the amazing works of Antoni Gaudi is a great option when the weather is bad. 7 of Gaudi’s famous works were designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1985, including the famous La Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, Palau Guell, Casa Mila, Casa Vicens, Casa Batllo, and Colonia Guell.
If weather permits and it’s sunny outside, you can visit Parc Guell during the day for beautiful views of Barcelona and the Mediterranean. Be sure to visit the Monumental Zone at the park and rest on the serpentine mosaiced bench.
For indoor sights, any of Gaudi’s homes are great places to visit. La Sagrada Familia is always a beautiful choice with its three different facades and amazing stained glass interiors. Casa Mila, Casa Vicens, and Casa Batllo are all wonderful representations of Gaudi’s architecture.
Casa Mila is the only apartment building designed by Gaudi and is best known for its self-supporting stone facade and public rooftop.
Casa Vicens was one of Gaudi’s first houses of the Art Nouveau style and was inspired by Moorish architecture with tiling throughout.
Casa Batllo is also known as, “The House of Bones” due to its skeletal-like qualities and visceral style. The home is of architectural interest because it is full of organic movement, the entire building lacks straight lines.
Visit the Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau in Barcelona
Suggested by Maria & Rui from Two Find A Way.
Barcelona is a city made for art lovers. In many ways, the Spanish city feels like an open-air museum, and most of its landmarks are focused on art and architecture. However, even if you visit in the Winter, you’ll find that many of these attractions are quite crowded, making it difficult to appreciate the art around you, and truly enjoy the experience.
The Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau makes for the perfect experience for art lovers, especially in the Winter. When we visited, there was almost no one around, and we had most of the unique rooms all to ourselves. To add, this is a great activity for a grey or rainy Winter day, as you’ll be under stunning ceilings during your visit.
The Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau is heaven for fans of Art Noveau, but an interesting attraction for everyone. Part of the site was actually a hospital originally founded back in 1401, and that was fully functioning until 2009. For this reason, a visit to this complex will also inform you about the history of medicine in Barcelona.
Visit the Museo del Baile Flamenco ( The Flamenco Museum)
Suggested by Katy from Untold Morsels.
Seville is the home of flamenco and there’s no better place to start learning about this uniquely Spanish art form than the Museo del Baile Flamenco (The Flamenco Museum). Nestled in the heart of Seville’s old town, the museum charts the history, styles and passion of flamenco. It’s a great rainy day activity if you are visiting Seville in winter.
You’ll learn about the four different elements of flamenco – dance, voice, guitar and soul. And admire the intricate costumes. Interactive multi-media performance displays place you so close to the dancers and musicians that you can almost feel the swish of their virtual skirts.
Once you have learned about the unique culture that is flamenco, stay on at the museum to watch a live show. Recognised as among the most authentic in town, you see a variety of performances that showcase the different styles of flamenco – from the jubilant and fun Alegría to the heartbreaking Tientoto.
Visit some of Spain’s wonderful castles
Suggested by Nesrine from Kevmrc Travel
One of the best things to do to shelter from bad weather is to take refuge in a castle.
Wondering which castle you could visit? Well, it is quite easy to find one as Spain has more than 2,500 castles all over the country! Spain is actually one of the countries with the most castles in Europe due to its rich history. For sure, you will be able to find one near where you’re staying.
As well as being able to hide from the rain and cold, you might even be able to get the castle for yourself! Indeed, visits are quite low during winter so you can be sure you will enjoy a crowd-free time in the castle.
Here is a short list of the best castles in Spain you definitely shouldn’t miss if you decide to go on a castle hunt:
- Alcazar de Segovia
- Alcazar de Seville
- Coca Castle
- Castillo de Butron
But of course, there are so much more castles to visit in Spain. Choose your castle among this list of the 36 best castles in Spain.
Things to do in Spain in winter when there are fewer crowds
Visit the usually crowded Alcázar
Suggested by Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan
In summer, and sometimes even in spring or autumn, the Alcázar in Seville is both impossibly hot and impossibly crowded, therefore, it’s best to visit in the winter months. The crowds have gotten much worse in recent years after the Alcázar was used as a filming location for the fifth season of the Game of Thrones. It had been used as a set for movies before that, including the 2005 film Kingdom of Heaven and the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia.
Regardless of the building’s fame on the silver screen, though, it’s worth visiting in its own right as a UNESCO World Heritage site with great historical and architectural importance. The Alcázar wouldn’t look out of place in Morocco, but it was actually built by Christians on the site of a Muslim fortress that was destroyed during the Reconquest. It’s among the best examples of Mudéjar architecture, which is the term for Muslim-inspired architecture in the formerly Muslim lands of Christian Spain.
The Alcázar sits right in the heart of Seville, in the historic neighbourhood of Santa Cruz. This is a great area to base yourself in while visiting the city, as it’s very lively and is home to some of Seville’s best tapas bars.
Visit the Monastery of Monserrat
Suggested by Carol from Wandering Carol.
A trip to Montserrat Mountain to see the Monastery of Montserrat is unforgettable. If you go in the winter, you’ll escape the summer crowds and still get to experience the otherworldly landscape, see the evocative art, explore the basilica and tap into the spiritual aspect of this sacred mountain.
Easily reached from Barcelona by train and then either rack railway or cable car, the monastery complex of Santa Maria de Montserrat has a lot to offer even on the coldest days.
One of the top things to see there is the much-revered statue of the Black Madonna, sometimes referred to as the Virgin of Montserrat. Located in the basilica, it’s said to hail from Jerusalem, and carved in the early days of Christianity.
Another highlight of visiting the basilica is to hear the boys’ choir, Escolania, a famous choir with origins that date back to the 13th century.
Finally, you won’t want to miss the Museum Montserrat, which contains a wide range of artefacts and artwork by masters such as Picasso, Dalí and Miró.
Visit the popular Alhambra palace Complex
Suggested by Ann from The Road Is Life
The beautiful Alhambra complex in Granada is by far the most popular palace to visit in all of Spain. It attracts 2.7 million tourists per year, so you can just imagine how crowded it can get during the summer months! Visiting the Alhambra during the winter is the perfect option if you’re not a big fan of crowds.
The Alhambra is a Moorish style palace and fortress dating back to the 14th century when the Moors occupied Spain. It’s perched on a hilltop overlooking the city of Granada with a backdrop of the snowcapped Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s no wonder the Alhambra attracts the crowds; it is truly a unique and breathtaking sight.
We chose to visit the Alhambra in February and we were very glad that we did. The wait times to get into each palace were minimal when normally you can expect to stand in long queues. Taking good photos was a much better experience without hordes of tourists in the way.
The weather in Andalusia during that time of year is a comfortable 17-20°C with mostly sunny days. Avoid the overwhelming heat and massive crowds and add the Alhambra to your list of winter destinations to visit in Spain!
Visiting the Sagrada Família
Suggested by Vicki of Vicki Viaja
The Sagrada Família is one of the most famous sights in Europe and an absolute must-see place to see while visiting Barcelona.
The basilica is considered to be the oldest construction site in the world. The constructions have been already going on for more than 100 years now and it still hasn‘t reached its final size. But now, the end of construction is finally in sight. For the 100th anniversary of the death of its creator Antoni Gaudí, Sagrada Família is finally to be completed.
Most tourists visit Barcelona in the summer, but the Sagrada Família is also an amazing place to visit in the winter months, especially in the Christmas season. In front of this popular basilica, you can find a little Christmas Market where you can buy Christmas trees and several kinds of decoration and handicrafts.
The Sagrada Família is not far from the centre of the city and can be reached easily on foot or by metro. The nearest metro stop is right next to the entrance.
How to celebrate Christmas in Spain
Christmas in Spain is celebrated differently to elsewhere in Europe. The main family meal is actually on Christmas eve and so you may find many restaurants are closed then. Midnight mass is very popular and what can be more festive than attending mass in one of Spain’s beautiful churches or cathedrals?
Many restaurants re-open on Christmas day and many of the Spaniards go out to eat on this day.
Christmas continues until the 5th of January which is referred to as The Three Kings Day or Epiphany which is the day when children will typically receive their Christmas gifts.
In the lead up to Christmas, you can enjoy many nativity scenes, musical shows and traditional markets
Other things to do in Spain at Christmas
See a festive performance at the Palau de Musica Catalá in Barcelona
Suggested by Andrew from Road Goat.
One of the best activities in Spain during the wintertime is to partake in the renowned Christmas festivities. Of all the festive activities that Barcelona offers in the winter, none is more remarkable than watching a show at the Palau de Musica Catalá – a historic landmark/concert hall that boasts incredible architecture and artistry within its walls.
Located between the narrow streets of the La Ribera area on the top of the El Born, the Palau’s architectural significance is hard to miss. Even though it is a fully functioning concert hall, many visit the site just to take in the beauty of traditional Catalonian architecture.
In the winter, watching the St. Stephen’s Choral Christmas Concert is a must-do for many who visit Barcelona, Spain. The world-class choral band’s performance to celebrate the festive season will be sure to put you and your loved ones in the festive mood. It will be an unforgettable experience during the winter in Spain.
How to celebrate New Year in Spain
Many Spaniards see in the New Year at home, with family. However, bars will open after midnight and there will be plenty of celebrations to join in at this point either in the main squares, bars or clubs.
There is a popular tradition which involves eating 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight, one for each of the months of the upcoming year. It is believed that this will give you good luck for the whole of the year!
Celebrating Carnival in Spain in February
Recommended by Inma from A World to Travel
One of the most anticipated Spanish celebrations for all ages is the Carnival. Its origin dates back many centuries ago.
During Lent (a religious celebration), Christians practised a voluntary fast. Before, however, some excesses were often enjoyed by the church, among which finishing the meat reserves by giving a great banquet. After all, there were no refrigerators and by the time Lent was over the food would be wasted!
Today, already detached from the religious and pagan character that saw this festival take place, it is usually celebrated 40 days before Easter – so it falls every year on a different date between February and March.
Every part of Spain celebrates it differently. In the Canary Islands, for example, there are large drag queens galas and it is world-famous attracting many visitors every year. In Andalusia traditional chirigotas (satiric and ironic songs) are sung and in the North, the unique Galician Entroido is celebrated.
Even so, with all the differences, there are some things that unite all the carnivals of the peninsula and its islands – its festive nature, the delicious (and huge) meals to celebrate it with friends and the varied and fun costumes people wear.
Other events in Spain in winter
Spanish Events in November
- Maspalomas Winter Pride – the only winter pride festival in Spain attracts 35000 spectators.
- Benidorm Festival – street parties, parades, sporting and music events culminating in fireworks on the beach.
Spanish events in December
- Dia de Los Santos Inocentes – similar to April Fools Day, filled with silly pranks!
- Christmas Eve – the main celebratory day of Christmas
- Christmas Day – usually families go out to eat in restaurants.
- New Year’s Eve – celebrated in the family home until after midnight when everyone hits the bars.
Spanish events in January
- Three Kings Day – expect processions, music, dancing and families exchanging gifts.
- Gastro Festival in Madrid – celebrating Spain’s culinary highlights.
Spanish events in February
- Carnival. The biggest party of the year. Expect glitz, glam and epic street parties and parades taking place in the week leading up to lent.
Get Planning your trip to Spain in winter
Here are some of my favourite travel resources I’ve tried and tested over the past 15 years to help you plan your perfect Spanish winter holiday…
- For booking hotels, I use booking.com and love the in-depth search options. If I’m looking for self-catered accommodation, I use Airbnb. Get a lovely discount HERE.
- For flights, I love Skyscanner. I always find the best deals there and the ‘search everywhere’ option is great for inspiration.
- For day trips, my preference is to use Get Your Guide. If you’re looking for longer trips or group tours then my absolute fave company is G Adventures. Other companies I recommend are Intrepid Travel, Dragoman and Tour Radar.
- For renting cars, I use Europcar – hassle-free!
- And for insurance – please don’t travel without it – try Nomads!
Hopefully having read this, you will have a better idea about why you should visit Spain in winter and are more confident about planning a winter trip to Spain, be it the warm canary islands or the cold and crisp snowy mountain regions! Have you got any tips for spending winter in Spain which you’d like to add? Then drop them in the comments box below!
Don’t forget to pin this article for later so you can come back to it!